Over the past few months we have heard names floating around for potential big names coming to the Cardinals. Among those names, the two I have heard most to this point are Scott Kazmir and Heath Bell.
The good news, they both look wide open if indeed the Cardinals decide to take that route.
Scott Kazmir is still only 27 years old. He was once one of the brightest shining pitchers in the league as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. Just since coming to the Angels in 2009, he has gone 11-17 with a 5.31 ERA. This season he has spent a majority of his time on the DL and has only put up 1.2 innings while surrendering five runs on five hits. The Angels released him from his contract Wednesday and one would think if anyone had a shot at revamping a once great pitcher, Dave Duncan can do the job.
The Angels rotation looked nearly unbeatable if they could bring Kazmir back to his former self. The starting rotation would have been:
Kazmir was scheduled to make $14.5 million this season, and it says something if the team is willing to outright release you and eat the cost instead of put up with a player.
To the more needed situation, Heath Bell is one of the leagues biggest closers and that is definitely the Cardinals main area of concern. This season he is pitching a 2.79 ERA and has converted 18 saves in 19 opportunities. He symbolizes consistency, something the Cardinals are in dire need of in this respect. Over his career with the Mets and Padres he has a 3.13 ERA and has converted 109 saves in 131 opportunities.
Heath Bell is a little more of an expensive closer, but he can be an effective one. At $7.5 million a season I am not incredibly sure he is exactly what a Cardinals club looking budget conscious with the looming Albert Pujols situation is looking for. Sure he models what we are looking for in the immediate future, the Cardinals would have to worry about losing Albert after throwing too much money into a bullpen that is a work in progress, they just need the time.
I still think the Cardinals organization is deep enough for the major league club to build a strong rotation and bullpen. Only time will tell, but in an ideal world these two would be prospects you can’t help but be the slightest bit interested in.